Encouraging Safe Outdoor Exploration for Children

August 7th, 2018 watchmegrowdaycarecenter

Outdoor Safety Tips for KidsWhen we were growing up, playing outdoors was a given. Today, the draw of using the internet, playing video games, or watching television keeps kids indoors. Unfortunately, when kids don’t play outdoors, they miss out on a lot of benefits. Playing outside helps calm children down, especially those with ADD or ADHD. Sunshine, fresh air, and physical activity all improve a child’s overall mood. Getting plenty of fresh air and vitamin D from the sun improves health. At least an hour of active physical play daily during childhood protects against obesity and diabetes. Playing outdoors helps kids develop better vision and reduces their need for glasses, and outdoor playtime also improves a child’s attention span.

If you want to encourage your kids to spend more time exploring and playing outdoors, teach them the following rules to help keep them safe.

Biking Rules for Kids

Kids should always wear a helmet when riding bikes. Helmets should be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and feature a good fit. They also need to wear athletic sneakers when riding bikes, as sandals, flip-flops, and other shoes lack the necessary grip for the pedals. They shouldn’t wear headphones or listen to music when riding a bike. These things are distracting and prevent them from being able to hear oncoming traffic and car horns. They need to always ride with their hands on the handlebars.

Talk to your kids about where they are allowed to ride their bikes in the neighborhood and where they are not. Have them tell you where they plan on going before leaving the house. Teach them to stop and check for traffic before crossing an intersection or leaving a driveway, alley, or curb. If an intersection is busy, they should walk their bike across using the crosswalk.

Experts suggest you should never ride against traffic and always use bike lanes or designated bike routes whenever possible. Talk with your kids about the most common kinds of bike collisions and how to avoid them. Don’t ride too close to parked cars to prevent collisions with open doors. When they pass others, teach them to always pass to the left side and call out “On your left!” to alert people about their presence.

Pool Safety for Kids

Never let kids swim without adult supervision. If you have a backyard pool, consider child-proofing it and installing alarms. There should be no running around a pool area — kids need to walk carefully from point A to point B.  Furthermore, never allow glass containers in the pool area. If one breaks, shards of glass have a chance of hurting people, as most people walk around barefoot at the pool. Shards of glass are also hard to see if they fall in the water.

Kids should always jump into pools feet first. Most backyard pools aren’t deep enough to dive, so it’s safer to either jump in feet first or enter the pool using the steps or ladder. Children who can’t tread water for a minute should wear a lifejacket or some sort of floatation device when using the pool. Finally, teach kids to never hold people underwater.

General Safety Rules for Outdoor Play

  • Stay hydrated! Kids should keep a refillable water bottle on them at all times.
  • Always wear sunscreen. Kids need an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more if swimming or sweating. Also encourage protective clothing including hats, visors, and sunglasses.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke. Kids should take frequent breaks to cool off when playing in hot weather.
  • Always tell an adult where you are going and who will be there.
  • Play nice with others and treat them the way you would want to be treated.

Playing outdoors is good for kids, but kids these days are more likely to spend their time indoors. You can encourage more outdoor playtime by teaching your children how to ride a bike and how to swim. Go over the above rules and advice with your children so they can safely explore the outdoors and reap its many benefits.

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